Polaris Government and Defense has joined with robotics and autonomous technology specialists to develop an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) that is being put forward for the US Army’s Squad Multipurpose Equipment Transport (SMET) programme, Jane’s has learnt.
Through ‘Team Polaris’, the off-road vehicle specialist is partnering with Applied Research Associates and Neya Systems to compete a platform based on Polaris’ MRZR vehicle, which in the United States is in service with the army, Marine Corps, and special forces elements.
The new vehicle is dubbed MRZR X and will feature an optionally manned capability. Jane’s understands that a four-seat variant of the MRZR provides the base vehicle for the UGV; the nature of the engine is as yet undisclosed.
Speaking to Jane’s , John Olson, the company's vice-president and general manager, said that the vehicle will act as a disruptor and will be capable of carrying a range of mission payloads. The company has recently used MRZR as a base for counter unmanned aircraft system (C-UAS) packages – among others – in US Army-led trials.
The core capability of the SMET vehicle will be as an unmanned beast of burden that is capable of operating alongside dismounted personnel in multiple environments. Requirements include the ability to carry at least an infantry squad’s equipment load for a minimum of 72 hours and over a distance of 60 miles, and acting as a power hub for recharging batteries (generating 3 kW when stationary and 1 kW while moving), among other tasks.
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